Pfizer settles lawsuit involving Celebrex


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Pfizer Inc. has settled a lawsuit filed by Brigham Young University over development of the blockbuster painkiller Celebrex for $450 million, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.

Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed in an announcement by the drug company and the Mormon Church-owned school in Utah.

However, Pfizer said in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it was taking a $450 million charge against first-quarter earnings to settle the case.

BYU and Pfizer battled for six years over the discovery of an enzyme that led to the development of Celebrex, a breakthrough in the treatment of arthritis and inflammation.

A jury trial had been set to start May 29 in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

BYU had sought a 15 percent royalty on sales of Celebrex, or about $9.7 billion. The university also could have sought billions more in punitive damages and interest.

BYU’s lawsuit says a chemistry professor, Daniel Simmons, discovered the genetic workings of the drug in the early 1990s. It accused Pfizer of violating a research agreement the school made with predecessor companies.

As part of the settlement, BYU plans to endow a Dan Simmons Chair in recognition of his lifelong work advancing human health.

“We are pleased to resolve this matter and the uncertainty of litigation and to be in a position to support Dr. Simmons’ research efforts at BYU,” Pfizer said in a brief statement.

BYU also issued a statement saying it was pleased the case had been resolved.

Neither side would comment further.

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